We are NO LONGER taking applications for Fall 2020.


For info regarding COVID-19, see our FAQs.

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The application deadline of Sept 1st HAS PASSED. Thank you for your interest.

The application process begins with you, the student. You will need to fill out the electronic application fully and pay the application fee. We will contact you within a week to schedule a follow up phone interview.


0 spaces left


Oct 5 - Nov 20




Hiking Boots

The Pioneer Project strives to be as inclusive as possible, valuing diversity in students of all levels of experience, ability level, and walks of life. Within the range of different student ability levels, there are certain minimum requirements that prospective students must meet to participate successfully in the program. The following is an overview of minimum physical, emotional and social standards for student participants.


Please don't hesitate to contact our staff for further discussion of any criteria or for help in assessing whether that criteria is met. 


* A note on physical eligibility: A positive attitude and willingness to be pushed outside of your comfort zone is the most important criteria! Many students come to our program having never experienced any of our wilderness activities prior to arrival, and with a very average level of fitness. Often times it is mental fortitude that is most important in facing physical challenges!​


  • Must be able to carry up to 40 pounds in a backpack over uneven, mountainous terrain

  • Must have cognitive abilities sufficient to effectively follow instructions given by our staff

  • Must be able to effectively manage own prescription medications

  • Must have the physical ability to do basic garden labor: pushing a wheelbarrow, using a shovel, bending over to work with the soil

  • Must have sufficient fitness to endure strenuous activities such as backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, and manual labor


  • Must be able to effectively communicate with others at a basic level

  • Must possess self-awareness sufficient to take responsibility in a community living situation

  • Must be willing to perform necessary chores as part of the community

  • Must possess a basic level of conflict resolution skills

  • Must be willing to be an active community member


  • Must be sufficiently stable emotionally to live in a non-therapeutic environment without any risk of extreme emotional fluctuations or mental health crises

  • Must have sufficient coping skills to manage multi-day wilderness outings away from phone / clinician access

  • If on medication, must have been stable on that medication for at least six months

  • If recently hospitalized for mental health concerns (within one year), must have a clinician’s release to participate in the program


In normal (non-COVID-19) times, we offer adapted programs for locals at a reduced rate where nearby students come during the day and return to their homes at night.

Contact us to start the conversation.


We want everyone to have an equal opportunity for a spot in this program.

Full scholarships are available based on need and enrollment.

Contact us to start the conversation.